Ancient Monuments

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Roman site, Butchery Lane

A Scheduled Monument in Westgate, Kent

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Latitude: 51.2786 / 51°16'42"N

Longitude: 1.0815 / 1°4'53"E

OS Eastings: 615011.453961

OS Northings: 157780.994372

OS Grid: TR150577

Mapcode National: GBR TY2.XYP

Mapcode Global: VHLGM.P4M5

Entry Name: Roman site, Butchery Lane

Scheduled Date: 25 July 1946

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1005160

English Heritage Legacy ID: KE 89

County: Kent

Electoral Ward/Division: Westgate

Built-Up Area: Canterbury

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent


Roman town house, 18m south-east of no. 6 Butchery Lane.

Source: Historic England


This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 18 December 2014. The record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

The monument includes a Roman town house surviving as upstanding and below-ground remains. It is situated below modern buildings on the east side of Butchery Lane in Canterbury.

The remains indicate that the house was based around a courtyard and included a number of rooms and corridors. The remains of the flint, brick and tile walls survive up to about 0.9m high. Three tessellated pavements survive in-situ. The best preserved has a cream base colour and is decorated with cartouches and a guilloche border. In the centre is a formal flower design with a geometric pattern above and below. The remains of a hypocaust survive in one of the rooms of the house and include several pilae, originally supporting a floor above.

The Roman town house was discovered during the Second World War and partially excavated in 1945-6, 1958-61 and 1990. The house is thought to have been built in about the late first century AD. In the early second century a wing was added and in about AD 300 the tessellated and mosaic floors were laid. A hoard of 50 Roman coins, dating to the third century AD, was found nearby a hypocaust stokehole.

The upstanding remains are Grade I listed.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Canterbury was the tribal capital of the Cantiaci in the Late Iron Age, however following the Roman invasion it developed into a walled town known as Durovernum Cantiacorum. Archaeological evidence indicates that in the first century AD priority was given to public building in the town. However from about the late first century the quality of private housing increased with the construction of well-appointed dwellings. Roman town houses were private dwellings within Roman towns, the design of which varied according to the needs, taste and prosperity of the occupier. They were built between the first and the fourth century AD. Town houses were often partly or wholly stone-built, many with a timber-framed superstructure on masonry footings. Roofs were generally tiled and those of high status could feature tiled or mosaic floors, underfloor heating, wall plaster, glazed windows and cellars. Documentary and archaeological evidence has provided information on the type of rooms within townhouses.

They might include an entrance hall or reception room, a kitchen (culina), one or more dining rooms (triclinia), one or more bedrooms (cubicula), a study (tablinum), a garden room (exedra) and a colonnaded garden (peristylium). In some examples a shop front is attached (taberna). Private lavatories, where provided, were often sited at a discrete distance from the house. Most Roman townhouses did not include private bath suites since towns had public bath houses. However in the later Roman period some houses were built or altered to include a modest bathing suite, usually comprising three rooms for cold, warm and hot bathing.

The Roman town house 18m south-east of No.6 Butchery Lane is a good example of its type, which survives well. It provides a valuable insight to the size and type of dwellings built in Roman Canterbury, and will contain archaeological and environmental information relating to its construction, use and history.

Source: Historic England


Blagg, T, ‘Roman Kent’, Council for British Archaeology Research Report 48 (1982), 4, accessed 23 Feb 2010 from
Kent HER TR15NE50. NMR TR15NE50. PastScape 464392. LBS 441187

Source: Historic England

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